LIVE WEB STREAM PANEL DISCUSSION
Organized and moderated by Mohammad Salemy as part of the Fixing the Future Platform
Hosted Live at Whitebox Art Center | 329 Broome St New York, NY 10002
Panelists: Joseph Audeh, Ariella Azoulay, Judith Rodenbeck, Alex Shams, and Myriam Vanneschi
An uncanny timeliness opened an unexpected connection between global contemporary art and geopolitics this month when, following the escalation of Israel’s military operations in Gaza, a planned exhibition of works from and about the Arab world opened at New York’s New Museum of Contemporary Art. Not only is the exhibition the biggest of its kind but, in addition to works from Palestinian artists throughout the show, the fifth floor of the museum houses a separately curated presentation of art and archival materials about and from Palestine.
It’s merely a truism to respond to this happenstance with the well-known quote by Walter Benjamin, that “there is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.” However, investigating the subtleties of Benjamin’s link between civilization and barbarism seems especially pertinent to these coincidental exposures of the politics of the Arab world in that the operating logics of both Israel’s Operation Protective Edge and New Museum’s Here and Elsewhere each in their own way contend with the form and content of the anticolonial resistance that has historically provided the Raison d’être for so much of Arab art, specifically contemporary art from Palestine.
In this conversation organized by Mohammad Salemy, Ariella Azoulay, Joseph Audeh, Judith Rodenbeck, Alex Shams, and Myriam Vanneschi will discuss what connections can be made between seemingly unrelated categories of military and museum as well as war and art.
The Middle East continues to be a primary site for the blood-drenched transformations of our planetary geopolitical system and is now also taking a leading role in the emergence of a global contemporary art. The discussion will consider whether the coincidental exposure of geopolitical violence in the Middle East and art from the region to audiences in the global north can help us understand the future of Palestine and the place of production and distribution of contemporary art in the future.
Joseph Audeh is an artist whose work combines science, culture and technology to explore the physical and political landscape of the Middle East. In 2013, Audeh developed Machine for Raising Water, an adaptation of a thousand-year-old irrigation device, with farmers in the Nile River Valley and water mechanics in Cairo at Townhouse Gallery. Audeh’s projects have appeared at New York University, Whitebox Art Center (New York), Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar (Doha), the Mediterranean Science, Policy, Research and Innovation Gateway (Cairo), and Makan Art Space (Amman). He currently works for Trevor Paglen and is a member of the New Museum’s art + technology incubator, NEW INC.
Ariella Azoulay (born 1962), teaches at the Department of Modern Culture and Media and the Department of Comparative Literature, Brown University
Her recent books include From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction and State Formation, 1947-1950, (Pluto Press, 2011), Civil Imagination: The Political Ontology of Photography (Verso, 2012) and The Civil Contract of Photography (Zone Books, 2008). Azoulay is also the She is the curator of When The Body Politic Ceases To Be An Idea, Exhibition Room – Manifesta Journal Around Curatorial Practices No 16 (folded format in Hebrew, MOBY, 2013), Potential History (2012, Stuk / Artefact, Louven), Untaken Photographs (2010, Igor Zabel Award, The Moderna galerija, Lubliana; Zochrot, Tel Aviv), Architecture of Destruction (Zochrot, Tel Aviv), Everything Could Be Seen (Um El Fahem Gallery of Art).
Judith Rodenbeck is an art historian and critic based in New York and Los Angeles. A past editor of Art Journal, she is also author of Radical Prototypes: Allan Kaprow and the Invention of Happenings. Her essay on Akram Zaatari’s missives is forthcoming this fall.
Alex Shams is an editor at Ma’an News Agency, the largest independent news agency in Palestine. He is also an editor-in-chief of Ajam Media Collective, a blog focused on society and culture in Iran and Central Asia. A native of Los Angeles, he received his master’s in Middle Eastern studies with a focus on gender in modern Iran from Harvard University in 2013. His work focuses on gender, urbanism, and Islamic political thought in the region. He has previously lived in Lebanon, and currently resides in Bethlehem.
Myriam Vanneschi is an independent curator and writer from the Netherlands. Her interests include Social Practice art, New Media art, feminism and art in a global context. She is a contributor to ArtBerlin and Hyperallergic. Very recently, she curated NO EXIT by Khaled Jarrar at Whitebox Art Center.
Mohammad Salemy is an independent Vancouver-based critic and curator from Iran. He has curated exhibitions at the Koerner Gallery and AMS Gallery at the University of British Columbia, as well as the Satellite Gallery and Dadabase. He co-curated Faces exhibition at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. In 2014, Salemy organized the Incredible Machines conference in Vancouver. Salemy holds a masters degree in Critical and Curatorial Studies from the University of British Columbia.
Link to Fixing the Future http://fixingthefuture.info